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news 14 Aug 13

EU Pushes Serbia on Digitalisation

Adriano Martins, Charge d'Affaires of the EU Delegation in Serbia, has urged the telecommunications minister to use a vacant television channel frequency to complete the digitalisation process.

BIRN
Belgrade

In the letter to Telecommunications Minister Rasim Ljajic, sent on Tuesday, Martins said that all free television channel frequencies should be used to test the digital signal.

"The lack of free frequencies has been the main concern since the beginning of the joint project of support to the digitalisation process," Martins said in the letter.

The letter comes after the Serbian Broadcasting Agency, RRA, failed to agree on whom to grant the vacant frequency of the former TV Avala, and said it would issue a new call for an application.

Two candidates have applied for Avala's frequency, TV Nova and Kopernikus Svet Plus 3. Avala lost its broadcasting licence on October 26, 2012, leaving over 90 workers jobless.

The EU Delegation in Serbia has said the frequency should not be assigned to broadcasters, as it is needed in the process of digitalization.

Martins recalled in the letter that the completion of digitalisation is an international obligation and is one of the conditions for Serbia's EU accession.

Based on a contract that Serbia concluded with the European Commission, it obtained pre-accession EU funds for assistance in equipment worth 8 million euro.

The transition to digital broadcasting in television has been finalized in 21 countries in Europe.

However, the process in Serbia has been postponed. One problem has been the lack of frequencies to test network parameters and equipment to digitally air TV signals.

Serbia should have finished digitalization by April 2012, but for technical reasons this has been postponed to June 17, 2015. This date represents the final deadline to replace the analogue TV signal with digital in Europe in general.

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